Dating can be really challenging, disappointing and can sometimes make you feel like crawling under a blanket and just binge watching Orange is the New Black until everything is okay again. If you’re feeling like dating has got you feeling down (and you’re getting ready to reach for that snuggly blanket and remote), here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- It’s not about you. When we’re rejected, our first impulse is to always blame ourselves. What did I do? Why are they rejecting me? What’s wrong with me? However, here’s a little secret: it’s not about you. If the person you’re dating rejects you and/or treats you poorly (for example, they completely disappear on you after you’ve hooked up), keep in mind that if they choose to act this way, it’s on them. Their behavior doesn’t have anything to do with you. There are so many times that I’ve rejected guys not because they aren’t totally lovely human beings, but because of something intangible that told me that they just weren’t going to be a good match for me long term. I’m sure someone else would totally dig these guys, I’m just not that person. In the end, it really was about me, not them.
- Sometimes rejection is a blessing. Everyone you date, you’re either going to break up with or marry. It’s a sobering thought. The path to finding the right person is (unfortunately) rife with rejection. Rejection is going to happen and it’s going to suck. However, in a sense, the other person is doing you a favor by telling you, “Hey, don’t waste any time on me. I’m not the right person for you.” Allow rejection to guide you, instead of holding you back.
- There’s nothing about you that is broken or that needs “fixing.” Our culture is one of self-improvement. We’re constantly told that the secret to happiness can be ours if only we fix X, Y, Z (our beach-body/dating technique/sex-moves etc.) It’s to the point where many of us feel like we’re kept in a perpetual state of insecurity. Here’s the truth: you’re absolutely perfect and worthy of love, just the way you are. If someone doesn’t see this, give yourself permission to send them packing. You’ve got this.
- It’s okay to get knocked down – just don’t stay down. Hurt, anger, a strong urge to drink boxed wine… These are all natural reactions to romantic disappointment. Give yourself time to feel all the feelings and then let them go. As one of my favourite quotes from Muhammad Ali goes, “Ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
- There’s no rule that says you have to keep dating. Instead of saying, “Just get back on that horse!” or “You’ll feel better if you just keep things moving!” consider this: it’s totally, 100% okay to not be dating, at all. We live in a culture where everyone is constantly being encouraged to date, pair off and be together – something that just isn’t always realistic, fair or even healthy. We’re fed the message that if we’re not dating, in a relationship or trying to find one, that there’s something wrong with us – something that inevitably needs fixing. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sometimes what we really need is time to heal. Being alone can help facilitate this. If not dating feels like the most authentic and right thing for you right now; follow your intuition. However long you need, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a time out.